GTS Future Scholars

Posted on: 09/06/2015

The Future Scholars programme seeks to give the opportunity to pupils in Year 9 to have an introduction to a Russell Group University and to experience the courses on offer.  Although maybe not a first choice for students in North Devon, Queen’s offered a unique experience and insight in one of the most historic and vibrant parts of the United Kingdom.  Five students from Year 9, Emily Herbert, Lilith Foster-Collins, Mollie McCann, James Gluzman and Dan King accompanied Mrs Whiteman and Mr Bunyard to Belfast for two days to learn what they could.

The trip itself proved to be an adventure with an interesting flight over the Irish Sea.  The usual Irish weather did not let us down and the flight gave Lilith a great introduction to air travel with some bumpy conditions on arrival.  Once we were on the ground the usual Belfast landmarks were obvious.  The Harland and Wolf cranes and the Titanic quarter gave us an introduction to Belfast’s ship building past and as we drove into the city the cultural history was revealed.  Some murals remain but the city itself has become a model of cooperation and diversity, the taxi driver was keen to tell us that Belfast was voted the safest city in the UK in 2012.

Using some (slightly out of date) local knowledge we explored the City Centre including the Europa Hotel, Grosvenor Road Police Station, The Crown Pub and the City Hall.  The city is keen to move on from its troubled past and felt warm and welcoming with a thriving centre filled with shops, restaurants and bars.

After a hearty Irish breakfast and a walk around the Botanic Gardens which sit next to the University we made our way to the University itself and the Future Scholars reception.  Held in the grand hall and overlooked by a portrait of Seamus Heaney the students gathered from Liverpool to Bodmin, Berkshire to Chorley and admired their surroundings.  The oak panelled walls drew some comments about Hogwarts as we were welcomed to the University and its immaculate grounds.

The day would consist of a number of presentations from various departments which would give a flavour of the courses offered by the University.  As a Russell Group University there is a clear emphasis on research and Queen’s is no exception.  Research into detection of emotions by robots is being conducted by the Computer Science department and painless injections are being developed in Science using patches instead of needles. 

The diverse history of the city and its culture are being looked at by Humanities and Languages.  Overall the atmosphere was one of safety and supported learning and the Year 9 students found the experience rewarding and enriching. We left Belfast with a better understanding of the courses offered and the life of a student at Queen’s but we also experienced a wonderful European City with a rich history and life which is just over the Irish Sea.  What was certain was that Queen’s would offer the warmest welcome to any student from North Devon in the future.


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